Stacy London, at the age of 53, is a force gathering speed. She made her name initially working in the trenches of Condé Nast fashion, first at Vogue and then as a senior fashion editor at Mademoiselle. It was television, and her 10-year run hosting “What Not To Wear,” that propelled her into the big leagues. But it was not all smooth sailing.
After WNTW ended, she suggested a show about midlife and was told by a television executive that no one would watch a show about older women. Not true, and not exactly an emotionally uplifting moment. This came at a time when she was also recovering from spinal surgery and in throes of perimenopause, with the emotional rollercoaster that can sometimes bring on. It was a rocky time. Doctors were semi-helpful. But for a life phase that affects roughly ¼ of the planet’s population, she found an appalling lack of transparency and real-world information on how to navigate and manage it.
In her typical head-on we-can-do-this fashion, she founded State of Menopause, a company whose mission is to help women feel their best during menopause. Not all women can take medication or choose to take medications such as hormone replacement therapy — there needed to be another solution that could help. Founding a company at any age is not for the faint of heart. It involves a humbling daily learning curve, which is made more tolerable when the mission of the company is to help millions of women manage a completely normal, but not talked about, life phase.
“I wanted a company that could be a North Star for those in need of assistance and education”
Why did you decide to found a company around menopause?
I decided to found a company around menopause because I had such a terrible experience during it and I was both ashamed and completely ignorant about any potential options for care outside of hormone therapy, which my health background made an impossibility to take. I did not see enough OTC product nor reliable and easily accessible information on the topic. I wanted a company that could be a North Star for those in need of assistance and education.
Where do you envision the company being in 5 years?
Bigger than Amazon, obviously.
What is it like being a first time CEO at 52?
Exhilarating, terrifying, awe-inspiring and exhausting. All at once, non-stop, all day, every day. I guess menopausal insomnia has helped me get things done. I’m constantly awake.
Do you find being a 52 y/o woman has been an obstacle, even though your work is all about women your age?
We live in a world where being a 52-year-old woman can be extremely difficult in all sectors of work life but I’m determined not to let that stop me from serving this community to the best of my ability!
What are your days like?
Too. Much. Sitting. Really, if there is one thing I know I need to change about my day, it’s including time for me to walk or move. I will get so focused on a project, or so deep in back-to-back meetings, I forget to stand up! I can’t advocate for women’s health if I’m not healthy!
How is this different from what you were doing on What Not To Wear?
There are pros and cons in my career now as opposed to my time on TV. Entrepreneurship is the hardest job I have ever had but more rewarding in that it’s mine. I’m the boss. I call the shots. The successes and failures are mine to own. But on TV, everything was pretty much taken care of for me. While I owned no part of the show, did not produce it, I just had to stand there and speak on a topic I know so much about, so that was pretty easy, but it wasn’t mine.
“I think it is terrible the way HRT and bioidenticals have been villainized for people in menopause”
What are some of the topics around menopause that you find are of most interest to people?
People really don’t know enough about menopause to even begin to ask questions. What I hear a lot is sort of what my experience was: “What is happening to me? I feel like myself. I don’t look like myself. I don’t know what to do.” People are concerned with physical changes, like weight gain, hot flashes, inability to orgasm or the lost desire to have sex. There are also so many mental health concerns like anxiety, depression and rage. There is a lot of shame around these topics because we all think something is wrong with us instead of having discourse that allows us to normalize all these issues and actively care for ourselves.
I understand that you, because of health issues, are not able to do HRT, but do you have any opinion about HRT?
I do! I think it is terrible the way HRT and bioidenticals have been villainized for people in menopause to the point that many are afraid to take them. Finally, there has been a reversal in the medical establishment that, unless you have a very specific health history, the likelihood is that you can take hormones safely and they will benefit you greatly if you’re experiencing severe issues in menopause. The idea that people white knuckle through this experience when they don’t have to is appalling to me.
What do you want people to know about you that they may not?
I’m pretty much an open book. I love the original Star Wars trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark and Blade Runner so I guess I’d love to smoke weed with Harrison Ford? I’ve loved dinosaurs since I was a kid. I’m obsessed with architecture and interior design.
“Don’t hold on to anything that doesn’t allow you to celebrate who you are, right now, in THIS moment”
You are a TV aficionado. What are your favorite streaming shows for a Sunday night at home?
Severance and Shining Girls on Apple TV. Hacks on HBOMax. Gentleman Jack on HBO. The Staircase (the doc on Netflix) and the scripted series on Showtime (? I think?) Gaslit on Starz. Omg, I’ve been glued to my TV every night for 2 1/2 years. Call me. I can even recommend good Scandinavian and Czech Republic thrillers.
Switching gears, you studied philosophy in college. Most meaningful philosopher for the times we are currently living in?
Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search For Meaning.
You were known for your collection of high heels, but that was then. What footwear are you enjoying wearing these days?
Zadig & Voltaire white leather high tops!
How should women this age think about getting dressed? Uniforms, follow trends, make something up?
Women this age should dress however they want but let me say this: as with everything in life, holding on to something that no longer serves you is not healthy. Don’t hold on to clothes that once fit 20 years ago, waiting to prove to yourself you can get back to them. Don’t hold on to anything that doesn’t allow you to celebrate who you are, right now, in THIS moment. You don’t need to compare yourself to who you were or how you used to dress. Everything about us evolves and that includes our style and what makes us look and feel our best and most confident.
Favorite red lipstick?
Paint-It Matte Lip Color in “Fireside” by About Face Beauty.
What are the 3 non-negotiables in your life?
(bonus: vintage clothing shopping sprees every once in a while!)
AGEIST readers get 10% off State of Menopause products with the code WEAREAGEIST or click here. Thank you Stacy!
Connect with Stacy and State of Menopause:
State Of Instagram
State Of Facebook
Stacy London Instagram
Stacy London TikTok
Stacy London Facebook
Stacy London Twitter (but I’m closing this account if Elon Musk buys the platform)
Email: HeyStacy@stateofmenopause.com – to reach me directly!